than the Army of the Potomac for the deeds of the Peninsular campaign, and although that meed was withheld from them by the authorities, I am persuaded they have received the applause of the American people.
The Army of the Potomac was recalled from within sight of Richmond and incorporated with the Army of Virginia. The disappointments of the campaign on the Peninsula had not damped their ardor or diminished their patriotism. They fought well, faithfully, gallantly, under General Pope, yet were compelled to fall back on Washington, defeated and almost demoralized.
The enemy, no longer occupied in guarding his own capital, poured his troops northward, entered Maryland, threatened Pennsylvania, and even Washington itself. elated by his recent victories, and assured that our troops were disorganized and dispirited, he was confident that the seat of war was now permanently transferred to the loyal States, and that his own exhausted soil was to be relieved from the burden of supporting two hostile armies; but he did not understand the spirit which animated the soldiers of the Union. I shall not, nor can I, living, forget that when I was ordered to the command of the troops for the defense of the capital, the soldiers with whim I had shared so much of the anxiety
and pain and suffering of the war had not lost their confidence in me as their commander. They sprang to my call with all their ancient vigor, discipline, and courage. I led them into Maryland. Fifteen days after they had fallen back defeated before Washington, they vanquished the enemy on the rugged heights of South Mountain, pursued him to the hard-fought field of Antietam, and drove him, broken and disappointed, across the Potomac into virginia.
The army had need of rest. After the terrible experiences of battles and marches, with scarcely an interval of repose, which they had gone through from the time of leaving for the Peninsula, the return to washington, the defeat in Virginia, the victory at South Mountain and again at Antietam, it was not surprising that they were in a large degree destitute of the absolute necessaries to effective duty. Shoes were worn out, blankets were lost, clothing was in rags; in short, the army was unfit for active service, and an interval for rest and equipment was necessary. When the slowly forwarded supplies came to us, I led the army across the river, renovated, refreshed, in good order and discipline, and followed the retreating foe to a position where I was confident of decisive victory, when, in the midst of the movement, while my advance guard was actually in contact with the enemy, I was removed from the command.
I am devoutly grateful to God that my last campaign with this brave army was crowned with a victory which saved the nation from the greatest peril it had then undergone. I have not accomplished my purpose if, by this report, the Army of the Potomac is not placed high on the roll of the historic armies of the world. Its deeds ennoble the nation to which it belongs. Always ready for battle, always firm, steadfast, and trustworthy, I never called on it in vain; nor will the nation ever have cause to attribute its want of success, under myself or under other commanders, to any failure of patriotism or bravery in that noble body of American soldiers.
No man can justly charge upon any portion of that army, from the commanding general to the private, any lack of devotion to the service of the United States Government and to the cause of the Constitution and the Union. They have proved their fealty in much sorrow, suffering,